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The Sportswriter (1986)

by Richard Ford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Frank Bascombe (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,753584,264 (3.65)177
At the beginning of his career, a young man gives up his chance to become a successful novelist in order to work as a sportswriter.
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» See also 177 mentions

English (51)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Banal musings of a painfully boring, clueless, and self-absorbed man. The only good thing to come of this reading experience is knowing that I will never have to read another novel by Richard Ford. ( )
  SarahMac314 | Aug 12, 2022 |
A great example of a bleak, masculine story that was still engaging and interesting to a non bleak female reader. Frank lives in away I recognize from myself, geared at avoiding emotional distress or depth at all cost while internally obsessing over his emotional state.
( )
  Venarain | Jan 10, 2022 |
Let me just get this out of the way up front, THE SPORTSWRITER is an amazing book and my rereading of it only deepened my appreciation for its creation of character and the seamless way Mr. Ford takes us through a few days in the life of Frank Bascombe and in doing so reveals a man in pretty much full. This book won and deserved the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now, I have no idea who reads these reviews I write; I mainly do them for myself to help remember how I felt about the book I just read. I noticed that I could recall having read a book a year or so ago but often had no concrete memory of what I thought of it. Hence these reviews. This preamble is necessary here because this is going to be an odd review and, if anyone else does read it, it may cause some incorrect anger at me as I’m going to seem to be disparaging toward someone for whom I have nothing but admiration. I speak now of RBG. You know who I mean by just in initials. Now, you are probably wondering what the HELL RBG has to do with my review of Richard Ford’s magnificent THE SPORTSWRITER. Let me tell you. Every year my wonderful wife and I attend the National Book Festival here in DC, for the past 7 years it has been held at the Convention Center on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. We love the mixture of authors from all sorts of genres, styles, and achievement level. I have seen so many authors speak who add a lot to my appreciation of their books and I look forward to the list of speakers each year quite expectantly. This year the lineup was not nearly as interesting to me, there were not as many authors I really wanted to see and some of those were lined up against each other. But there was one author appearing who I was very interested to see…Richard Ford. He was scheduled to be in the main hall, their biggest venue, as the first person on the schedule. Sounds good right? Nope, because the second person to appear in that hall was the aforementioned RBG and that meant that the hall would be full of people who cared not about Richard Ford well before his speech started at 9 am. As we discovered when we attempted to get in line and were told there was no chance we would even get close. Look, I revere RBG as a legal mind and as one of the most important Supreme Court justices we have, do NOT call me on that, but she is a lawyer who has written. She is not an author by trade. She is a celebrity in this venue. As we stood in line, I could look at the people waiting with us and pretty much guess that most of them were not interested in a writer whose main work is about men dealing with middle age (gasp, HOW DARE HE WRITE THAT!). The two women behind us made a comment about the poor guy who was speaking first, then one said that she had never heard of him, she wondered what he might have written. So, having been denied even the chance to see him I vowed to reread his books as a totally quixotic protest. I enjoy tilting at windmills. I am so glad I did. I blame the Festival organizers for the problem, but I also blame our culture who can’t have a Book Festival that features only those whose main occupation is writing. It’s like when some celebrity “writes” (i.e. has a ghostwriter write) a children’s book and it becomes a best seller. That always bothers me. The other silver lining of the situation was that I went to plan B at 9am and saw Rebecca Makkai speak about THE GREAT BELIEVERS which was one of the best books I read last year and she turned out to be one of those authors who really is interesting and she really enhanced my memory and enjoyment of her book. She also guaranteed I will check out more of her writing. So, there it is. I may be shouting into a void here, it would not be the first or the last time I will do that, but I’m okay with that. And please, again, understand that I’m only upset with RBG dominating an AUTHORS event and mostly at the Festival hosts for not solving this problem. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Boy, I had to really slog through this. The main character is incredibly self absorbed and uses a "whatever happens, happens" attitude as a way to protect himself from involvement with other people. In one way, this can be seen as an interesting study in how people deal with events in their lives and how that affects the people around them. It might have been successful at that if the book were half its length. ( )
  grandpahobo | May 9, 2020 |
"The only truth that can never be a lie, let me tell you, is life itself—the thing that happens."
  AAAO | Jan 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Fordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wiel, Frans van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
Kristina
First words
My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.
Quotations
What’s friendship’s realest measure? I’ll tell you. The amount of precious time you’ll squander on someone else’s calamities and fuck-ups.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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At the beginning of his career, a young man gives up his chance to become a successful novelist in order to work as a sportswriter.

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Average: (3.65)
0.5 3
1 18
1.5 7
2 43
2.5 20
3 133
3.5 50
4 216
4.5 13
5 129

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